Sula: Carmelo, the younger


PAMPANGA First District Congressman Carmelo Lazatin, Jr., aka Jonjon, was cool as a cat when his name was suddenly dragged into a road rage incident somewhere in his father's, Carmelo, the older, turf Balibago, probably the richest barangay in the City of Angeles.

As it happened, the suspect, who was caught on CCTV giving a one-way boxing lesson to a hapless driver while making a seat-in-the-pants defense, was driving a pricey vehicle with the protocol number 8. The suspect also reportedly claimed that he was the son of Congressman Lazatin. The suspect later denied to having made the claim.

Cong JonJon has shown a good example to tell it like it is. You don't have to labor like a mountain to produce a mouse in order to tell the truth. It's so simple: just tell the facts and no need to make some theatrics. Truth will take care of itself.

Jonjon addressed the viral issue with surgical precision, although he is no doctor, the last time I heard.

First off, he said he didn't have the protocol number 8 plate. The protocol had been abolished by the House of Representatives when he began his term after the 2016 elections. The House had eventually confirmed it, citing unbridled abuse by some lawmakers. Irony and cliché are exceptional in this scofflaw country.

The other thing is, they may be rich, but Jonjon knew not of anybody in the clan to have the kind of top-of-the-line vehicle the suspect was driving. And then came the jugular: the suspect could not be his son as his eldest was only 16 years old. The suspect was said to be in his early 30s.

Jonjon perilously and prudently stopped there. He claimed that the suspect was not his son. He didn't say he was not the son of a Lazatin. In the confusion, people get mixed up, and it's a good thing Jonjon had to make the distinction before he loses a part of his inheritance you'll never know. Old, traditional politicians are known to sow wild oats or hide behind the stork to keep a secret in plain sight.

You can ask Max, who's on the detail and specifics.

What's commendable here is that Jonjon passed off the chance to make a big deal of the incident to promote himself, or his candidacy with the 2019 elections just a few months away, or is it over?

He could have been outraged by such personal travesty that he could have called for an immediate investigation by the House and milked every minute of it with sound bites and righteous posture on national TV. He didn't.

He could have blamed unnamed politicians, or just anybody, who wanted to badmouth him and his family, with his reelection and mayoralty candidacy of another name namesake for the city as possible mastermind. He didn’t judge the suspect of diabolical intent, brushing him off as someone who perhaps just wanted a free pass.

He didn’t. In fact, he was affably gracious as to disabuse even the faintest notion that people in his district, whether critics or supporters, friend or foes, were behind it, and that it's beneath them. He didn't say them in the exact same words. But you get the sense.

I don't know how good a lawmaker Jonjon is, or whether his record in the House in his first term is riddled with flagrant absenteeism or is a silent as that of lamb. Last week's incident, however, revealed the kind of person he is when he could be different and self-seeking at no cost.

As unintended consequences go, that Balibago issue was worth six figures or more in paid political advertisements .

That's tough to beat.


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